Metro Weekly

Trump rescinds Obama executive order on labor discrimination

Companies contracting with federal government no longer required to disclose past violations of labor laws

President Donald Trump at CPAC 2017, Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Monday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order allowing companies that do business with the federal government to avoid disclosing past instances of discrimination or violating labor laws. 

Trump’s order rescinds an Obama-era executive order that required companies with federal contracts to report whether they have been found liable for violations of any labor laws or executive orders, including those that prohibit discrimination against protected classes of people, including LGBTQ individuals. The executive order also instructed federal officials to consider those violations when awarding contracts.

LGBTQ legal advocacy organization Lambda Legal slammed Trump for rescinding Obama’s executive order. The group’s CEO, Rachel Tiven, called the now-rescinded regulations in the order a valuable enforcement tool intended to hold employers responsible for violations of nondiscrimination laws. She also encouraged LGBTQ employees of federal contractors, and those with HIV, to contact the organization if they believe their rights have been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or HIV status.

“This sends a message that the government condones discrimination,” Tiven said of Trump’s actions. “Scrapping an order like this one is different than not adopting one.  It’s not surprising given Donald Trump’s sordid history with women that this administration is allowing companies to hide sex discrimination — including sexual harassment.

“Furthermore,” Tiven added, “this administration is inviting businesses to the table that violate equal pay and fair wage laws, ignore laws requiring family medical leave, or target employees for discrimination based on race, sex, gender identity, gender non-conformity (including being gay or lesbian), disability (including HIV), and numerous other grounds. All of these things violate the law. Companies that flout the law should be sued — not invited to win our tax dollars.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com